Submitted by Rev. Dr. Campbell Lovett, Consulting Conference Minister
And not only that, but wealso boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…
Romans 5: 3 – 4
I’ve been thinking a lot about these verses from Romans 5 over the past few weeks. They remind me of our new national mantra that goes something like this: staying home reduces the spread of the coronavirus, and reducing the spread “flattens the curve,” and flattening the curve means fewer virus victims, and fewer victims produce a faster recovery, and a faster recovery produces the hope that we will be able to get through this very difficult time. This is not a season for boasting, but it is very much a time for endurance and character and hope.
Paul was primarily writing about justification by faith, and God’s grace in Jesus that bolsters us in our faith. That faith helps us to pray for first responders, EMTs, health care workers, chaplains, nurses, and doctors – that they may be safe and encouraged while on the front lines. Our faith helps us to reach out to those in our communities that are on the margins and too often overlooked. Our SCC churches continue to support food pantries, share resources with women’s shelters, gather supplies for asylum seekers living outdoors at the border in Matamoros, help with home repair, and so much more. Our faith helps us to find creative new ways to share the Good News through video conferencing, live streaming, and posting on social media.
When I first began conversations with members of the Transition Team, sharing a ministry of encouragement and support during a global pandemic was not what I envisioned. We had no way of knowing! But, “for a time such as this,” we are now bound together in covenant, and we must come to understand that we are stronger together – even as we are alone together! I have been in Texas since March 4th, and will probably be here well into April. I look forward to reaching out to many of you via email, phone, and video conference. My work will mainly be to curate resources that will be helpful to you at this time, and to network with you so that we can find new ways to be mutually supportive. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share more about your hopes and your needs: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sufferings that many are experiencing – in battling the virus, losing jobs, working remotely, homeschooling the children, caring for our neighbors in need, and worrying about one’s well-being are probably not topics for boasting. However, they can be cause for praying without ceasing and enhancing the hope that will sustain us in difficult times. Will you join me in committing Romans 5:1–5 to memory as our shared prayer for the living of these days?
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and weboast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but wealso boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
With you on the Journey,
Consulting Conference Minister